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Location India, Himachal Pradesh
Central coordinates 76o 3.00' East  32o 0.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4iii
Area 30,729 ha
Altitude 335 - 436m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Bombay Natural History Society

Site description The Pong reservoir, also called the Maharana Pratap Sagar, was created in 1976 by the damming of the River Beas in the foothills of the Himalayas on the northern edge of the Indo-Gangetic plain. It contains several deforested islands which attracts a large number of waterbirds. The northern edge is very flat, with mudflats and wet grasslands and attracts major concentrations of birds. Pong Dam was basically an irrigation reservoir but when a large number of birds started coming regularly to the wetland, the reservoir was declared a bird sanctuary in 1983. There is some submerged vegetation, but the shoreline does not support much emergent vegetation due to the pronounced seasonal changes in water level. There is an extensive swamp with reed beds and grasslands in the seepage area below the dam (Gaston 1985, 1986). The surrounding hillsides still support some Mixed Deciduous and Chir Pine Pinus roxburghii forest.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris non-breeding  2004  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2004  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Pong Dam Lake Sanctuary 30,729 is identical to site 30,729  
Pong Dam Lake Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 15,662 unknown 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
Notes: Agriculture
nature conservation and research -
Notes: Nature conservation and research
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Tourism and recreation
water management -
Notes: Water management

Acknowledgements Key contributors: Jan Willem den Besten, Sanjeeva Pandey and Murari Thakur..


Gaston, A. J. (1985) Report on a visit to Pong Dam Lake, 2-3 December. Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa. Unpublished. Pp 8.

Gaston, A. J. (1986) West Himalayan wildlife survey. Report on activities in 1985. Unpublished. Pp 18.

Gaston, A. J. and Pandey, S. (1987) Sighting of red-necked grebes on Pong Dam Lake, Himachal Pradesh. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 84: 676- 677.

Pandey, S. (1989) The birds of Pong Dam Lake Sanctuary. Tiger Paper 16(2): 20-26.

Singh, S., Kothari, A. and Pande, P. (Eds) (1990) Directory of national parks and sanctuaries in Himachal Pradesh: management status and profiles. Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi. Pp 164.

Wetlands International (2002) Waterbirds Population Estimates: Third Edition. Wetlands International Global Series No. 12. Wageningen, The Netherlands.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 22/09/2014

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